Feb 24, 2013

Army's Refusal to Relocate Family of Four Shocks Congresswoman

DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton's letter ... expresses “shock” that the Corps would excavate a home site within yards of the home where Rogerio Zandamela and Christine Dieterich are raising their children, ages 1 and 5.  The Corps expects to unearth toxic chemicals in glassware and munitions contaminated with toxic agents such as mustard gas that were used in World War I, when the American University campus was an experiment station for poisonous chemical weapons.  Harold G. “Buzz” Bailey, an attorney who represents the family, last week petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to relocate them under the Superfund Act ... The full story of the Spring Valley chemical-weapons testing and the plight of the Dieterich family is the subject of a feature in the March issue of Washingtonian.
Harry Jaffe
February 21, 2013

Since 2000, the Army Corps has removed over 500 munitions, 400 pounds of laboratory glassware and over 100 tons of soil contaminated with arsenic and other hazardous substances from 4825 Glenbrook Road and the immediate area.  Despite this and the very real possibility that hazardous substances remain, the Army Corps decided to reject the family’s request for relocation during the remainder of the Army Corps’ work at 4825 Glenbrook Road ...
We also know that the Army Corps’ relationship with the Spring Valley community is fragile, that the cost of relocating this family is small compared to the overall cost of this years-long project, and Army Corps risks serious negative publicity by denying this request.  Given these facts, I find it unreasonable that the Army Corps would opt to deny the relocation request.  In light of the scientific evidence available to the Army Corps and to the general public, I believe that the only prudent decision is to relocate the family.

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